Johnny and I were waiting on Roberta’s doorstep when the lights of Jenny’s Jeep pulled in the drive. Roberta jumped out alone and told us Jenny would get a ride out – that she had to stay until the end. Start without her she had told Roberta. Seconds later Mike arrived with Jeffrey and Len. The two Torontonians left their car in Alliston rather than try and find their way out to St’ Johns in the dark.
Roberta had one of those rec. rooms loaded with all the goodies for entertaining. There was fully stocked bar with a draft tap, a pool table, and the sauna off the bathroom equipped with extra towels and bathing suits. It wasn’t that warm that night but everyone helped themselves to a drink and donned bathing gear as Johnny pulled the cover off the hot-tub. Just over 80 degrees he told us. Wow. I flipped on the outdoor sound system and tuned it to classic rock.
Johnny was already in as Len, Jeffrey and I followed. Mike was taking his time. Half a minute later, Roberta came out in a two piece that showed off her athletic body. I had always liked camping or going swimming with Roberta. She had a confidence about her body that felt natural. Maybe it was the way I looked at her as she caught me staring. She flicked her toe in the water, splashing me in the face, beaming a smile. Mike came out a moment after. For a shorter guy he was well muscled and he knew it. He swaggered over to the hot-tub and pulled the towel off his shoulders to reveal a broad chest and well cut abs. There was room in the hot-tub for a couple more as it was huge. Roberta said it was an 8 person. I laughed at that and reminded her of all the wild parties you saw in porn movies with 8 people in a hot tub. Roberta just smiled.
Jeffrey It turned out, was starting his own gallery in Toronto. He’d tried to sell his own work but never found the market. We sat there talking about business for an hour, each having another drink until Johnny asked out loud where Jenny had got to. “She should be here by now – the show is over.”
Roberta replied,” She was with that Professor guy. She said they had some business to take care of, something about her portfolio.”
“I gave her a watch today; you’d think she would use it,” said Johnny.
Mike got up and went into the house. He brought back his phone and handed it to Johnny. “Give her a call.”
Johnny rang Jenny’s number. It picked up but her voice was muffled on the other end. “I’ll be there soon. Give me another half an hour. Frank is just looking at some of my work. He says it’s really developed since school.”
“Where are you,” asked Johnny. The phone clicked dead at that moment.
“What’s going on,” I asked.
“It’s nothing, probably.” Jenny is meeting with the Professor, looking at her portfolio Johnny said.
“At 11:30 at night?” said Len. “Woo, that Professor Frank sure likes his artists.”
“What are you saying?” Whatever it was it was probably the wrong thing to say to Johnny at that moment.
“Nothing Man – Just. Well, Professor Miller had a reputation for being a Lothario in College.
“He means he seduces women,” replied Jeffrey, completing Len’s thought.
Johnny jumped up, grabbed his towel and stormed into the house. You could hear the door of the bathroom close. I ran after him. “Hey, what are you doing, you can’t go back there, and you’re in no shape.”
“Johnny, wait,” called Roberta.
“I can if I want to.” Johnny was pissed. What ever we thought might be happening in a surreal way, Johnny believed was happening.
“It’s all in your head man. Nothing is happening. You know she love’s you.” I said through the door.
“I don’t know that at all.”
“Tell you what, I’ll drive back into town and find her. I’m sure they are at some café on the strip, maybe Wilfred’s or something.” I picked the most bohemian, artsy Café I could think of but I new there were half a dozen others and that it was a stretch. Johnny opened the door. He had only been leaning with his hands on the sink, staring into the mirror and had not changed clothes.
A voice from behind asked if everything was all right. It was Mike. Mike had a wallet in his hand, a small leather bag. “Hey guys, I know something that will make the party a bit livelier.” He zipped open the leather wallet and pulled out a baggie filled with white powder. “Something I keep for special occasions and you sound like you could escape for a while until this blows over.” He said to Johnny laughing at his words.
“What the fuck are you doing,” I said. “Are you out of your mind? That stuff could kill you.” I realized I sounded like the youth counselor and tried to catch my words back. After all, we were all adults here and a criminal substance from a lawyer was less risky than Johnny’s attempt at a DUI.
“I’m getting dressed and heading out.” I said. I didn’t want to wait any longer in case Johnny forced himself into the car with me. Last thing I wanted was an unexploded bomb beside me in the car. “Wait here and have some fun,” I told Johnny. Lighten up a little. You’re so tense. I’ll be back with Jenny in no time you’ll see.”
I spun the GT out of the gravel drive and headed for town. All the wrong thoughts were racing through my mind. All the thoughts about Jenny getting it on with Frank the professor in some throw back to the good old days. Or maybe it was a price she was paying for his contacts in Toronto; seedy, sleazy Frank. I raced faster not thinking about police at this hour, they’d be at the student bars breaking up fights between those lost soles who didn’t make it home or had no place to go but start trouble in town. Alliston held more surprises to come.